In a recent survey, 63% of respondents said that being recognized at work is so valuable they’d be very unlikely to go job hunting in the next 3-6 months. On the other hand, only 11% of employees who said they were either rarely or never recognized said they were content to stay put.

Employee recognition, either through casual recognition or a more formal rewards program, ensures your team that they’re being seen, heard and valued. Research also indicates more measurable benefits, including workplace recognition and rewards, which are linked to increased employee engagement, better productivity, and even improved loyalty and employee retention.

The most important element of a rewards program is to create an initiative that makes sense to both employees and the employer. Let’s explore five ways to set up an effective program. Then, we’ll get into three employee rewards ideas that may help you retain your current team and attract top talent. 

5 Ways to Set Up an Effective and Exciting Employee Rewards Program

1. Build a program that’s clear and transparent

For an employee recognition program to work in both the short and long-term, everyone needs to understand:

  • Who’s eligible
  • What the expectations are
  • How rewards/recognition will be earned and tallied
  • What rewards are available
  • How often those rewards will be given out

Before you launch your program, write down the rules and make sure the information is available company-wide. 

2. Take a top-down approach

It’s important to get leadership involved with your employee rewards program. Senior team members set the tone for the company, so by having leaders as a core part of your program you show employees that recognition is a key part of your culture. One example is to have C-suite executives and supervisors shout out employees on company-wide quarterly kick offs or emails. 

3. Encourage peer-to-peer recognition

While one study reported that employees found praise from their immediate managers more motivating than financial incentives, peer-to-peer recognition was even more likely to have a positive impact — by nearly 36%.

Encouraging employees to nominate their coworkers for rewards and participate in voting can bring your team together and foster a sense of belonging. In turn, that togetherness makes things like multi-department collaborations even easier.

4. Encourage and graciously accept feedback

Employers aren’t always right. Accepting any constructive feedback offered by your team is a key part of running a recognition program that works. After all, incentives are only motivating if employees feel that the process is fair and that the rewards are worth the effort it takes to earn them. Consider polling your employees to learn the incentives that would make them feel the most valued.  

5. Revisit the program regularly

Is your plan motivating employees as you hoped? Is it cost-effective? Does it feel like you’re handing out rewards too often? Not often enough? Do employees feel included?

The answers to these questions will change over time, which is why it’s so important that you check in periodically. Forming a committee to head up, monitor, and tweak the program is a good idea, too.

3 Ideas for Rewards Your Employees Will Enjoy

Once you have the structure of your rewards program set up, it’s time to choose what the rewards will be. Here are three ideas for rewards your employees will enjoy. 

1. A big ticket item, gifted via a sweepstakes

Instead of providing small rewards regularly, consider awarding achievements throughout the quarter with sweepstake entries. At the end of every quarter, you can give away a big-ticket item like an all-expenses-paid vacation, VIP concert tickets, or a tech item. 

2. Invest in team-wide celebrations

Work as a team, celebrate as a team. That’s the idea behind team-building activities like a company picnic, happy hour, or trivia night. As your company meets or exceeds major goals, reward everyone for their hard work with a team outing — food included, of course.

3. Offer meal perks

People love free food — just ask them. Researchers found that employees who are provided with food at work have a 20% increase in their overall on-the-job satisfaction and happiness. If you’re in the office, consider offering catered breakfast or group orders at lunch. This idea works for remote workers, too. You can offer individual meal credits so your work-at-home employees feel included and rewarded. 

Looking for more ways to reward your employees? A Grubhub Corporate Account makes it easy to offer meal perks as a part of your recognition program. Choose from individual meal perks, like sending a meal as a thank you for employees who go above and beyond or reward your whole company at team-wide events like a corporate happy hour or lunch-and-learn. Plus, with Grubhub Corporate, you can recognize the hard work of your employees while maximizing your budget because you only pay for what’s actually ordered.

Contact us to learn more!